Founded in 1832 by Auguste Agassiz, the company that would become Longines really came into its own in 1860 when Agassiz’s nephew, Ernest Francillon, took the watch maker’s reigns. Under Francillon, the company moved to a site called Les Longines on the river Suze in 1867, trademarked the name Longines in 1880, and registered the famous winged-hourglass logo in 1889.
Of course, Francillon did more than see to the company’s marketing needs. He also oversaw technological innovations that would make Longines one of the world’s most respected watch makers. One of his first decisions was to introduce anchor escapements into Longines timepieces. Then, in 1888, he presided over Longines’s first certified chronometer.
By 1909, Longines had enough experience with small-caliber movements that it could devote more of its attention to the jewelry watches and wristwatches that would make it famous. Two years later, it introduced a barrel-shaped wristwatch that is considered the precursor of the Longines Evidenza line, which flourished in the 1920s.
As it turns out, the winged-hourglass was a prescient symbol for a company that created numerous timepieces for pilots. In 1919, Longines became the official supplier to the International Aeronautical Federation; in 1925, a Longines accompanied aviator Antonio Locatelli on a flight to the North Pole region; and in 1926, Walter Mittelholzer wore a Longines when he flew from Switzerland to Iran.
But the association really took off, if you will, in 1927, when Charles Lindbergh made his solo flight across the Atlantic. A Longines measurement device at Roosevelt Field in Long Island marked the moment he took off; a similar Longines timepiece at Le Bourget Airfield in Paris where he landed recorded the time of the flight: 33 hours, 30 minutes, 29.8 seconds.
While in the air, Lindbergh had a lot of time to think about a lot of things, including the perfect watch, which he eventually designed for Longines. His Longines Lindbergh Hour Angle, introduced in 1932, used high-frequency quartz regulators to aid in the navigation of transatlantic flights by showing both Greenwich Mean Time and the corresponding hour angle. Needless to say, a Lindbergh Hour Angle from the 1930s is one of the most collectible antique Longines wristwatches available today.
The introduction of a wrist chronograph in 1936 allowed the aviation connection to continue in 1938, when Howard Hughes broke the speed record for a flight around the world. By t...
Calendars, water-resistance, and self-winding mechanisms were added as features to Longines watches during the 1940s. Gold and diamonds became more common as post-war prosperity allowed Longines to go after the luxury market.
And then, in 1954, Longines introduced one of its most enduring sports-lifestyle brands, the Conquest. The handsome Flagship followed in 1957. A vintage Conquest or Flagship from the 1950s is as prized by collectors today as it was by customers in the mid-20th century. Another collectible wristwatch to look from the late 1950s is the Jamboree.
Key terms for Antique and Vintage Longines Wristwatches:
Chronograph: A watch that also records time intervals, like a stopwatch.
Chronometer: A watch that has been certified by the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute not to lose more than four seconds per day, nor to gain more than six.
Escapement: A device that converts the pressure of a spring or coil into a fixed release of movement.
Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)
National Watch and Clock Museum
Clubs & Associations
Other Great Reference Sites
Most watched eBay auctions
Recent News: Longines Wristwatches
Source: Google News
Longines contest Two winnersWorld Tempus, September 18th
and Mrs Joyce T., from San Francisco, California. Longines concours. Christelle F. Longines concours. Chuck Neumann (left), Longines Regional Sales Manager, hands her gift to Joyce T., accompanied by her son, in Tourneau boutique, San Francisco...Read more
The Capitalist Touch: The Trifecta of Longines' Timing Performance WatchesForbes, September 16th
Inspired by horse racing and equestrian lifestyle, Swiss Watch Maker, Longines dates back to 1878. Timing performances to a fifth of a second, graciously helped international show jumping events, flat racing and endurance competitions. Watch here at ...Read more
Follow the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final on the New Practical ...Practical Horseman Magazine, September 16th
September 15, 2014--Practical Horseman launched a new microsite dedicated to the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final, which returns to the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, April 15–19, 2015, for the first time since 2009. The site offers all the ...Read more
The 2014 Longines Prize for PrecisionWorld Tempus, September 10th
Longines is proud to have supported the Archery World Cup as its Official Partner and Timekeeper. The Swiss watch brand is also proud to announce the continuation of the partnership with World Archery that it entered into in 2008. "We are very pleased...Read more
Shock defeat for Sea The Moon in Longines Grosser Preis Von BadenEurosport.com AU, September 7th
The meetings at Iffezheim include no fewer than ten group races, more than any other racecourse in Germany, with one Group One race - The Longines Grosser Preis von Baden, three Group Two and seven Group Three events on the Great Festival Week's ...Read more
Longines' Not Guilty of MurderKZTV Action 10 News, September 3rd
CORPUS CHRISTI - A jury has returned a not guilty verdict for a woman and her father accused of killing her boyfriend two years ago. Dennis and Chasity Longbine claim they shot Jesus Quintanilla in self defense after he made threats to rape and kill...Read more
Longines, Hamilton, or Omega? The Watcher Will Now Take Your QuestionsEsquire (blog), August 29th
I'd say in terms of history, Longines has the most. By far. I don't care what watch expert you talk to; Longines has made some of the coolest vintage watches ever. Even even the most diehard Patek or Rolex guys will tip their hat to Longines' past. To...Read more
The Twenty-Four Hours Single Push-Piece ChronographWorld Tempus (press release), August 26th
For its latest creation, the Longines Twenty-Four Hours Single Push-Piece Chronograph, the brand has replicated the lines of one of its pilot watch dating from the 1950s. The 47.50 mm diameter of the original model has been reproduced, as well as the...Read more